Ski season is well under way, and many Denver residents are headed up to the mountains every weekend in search of epic powder days. While the sun may not seem as strong in the winter months as it does during the summer, you are still at serious risk of sun damage during ski season.
There are several factors which significantly increase your risk of sun damage during ski season. The high elevation at Colorado ski areas makes the sun much stronger than it actually feels. The Skin Cancer Foundation has found that UV radiation increases 4-5% for each additional 1,000 feet you travel above sea level. Many of the ski resorts in Summit County and the Vail Valley have trails ranging from 9,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level, which means that UV radiation may be as much as 35-45% more intense than at the beach.
In addition, the snow reflects up to 85% of the sun’s rays. As a result, you are being exposed to harmful UV rays from two different directions (above and below).
The skin care professionals at Facial Aesthetics recommend the following tips to prevent sun damage on the ski slopes:
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher that protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, even on cloudy days
- Apply sunscreen liberally about a half hour before you get on the mountain, using at least one teaspoon for your face
- Make sure to apply sunscreen evenly and cover areas such as the ears, lips, neck, underside of the chin, scalp, hands, and around the eyes
- Carry a travel-sized tube of sunscreen with you while skiing so that you can reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you sweat heavily
- Use a moisturizing sunscreen since the cold winter weather can dry out your skin
- Use a lip balm of SPF 15 or higher
- Wear goggles or sunglasses that provide UV protection
- Wear a ski mask or neck gator to protect your face from the sun
To learn more about how to protect your skin from sun damage during ski season, please contact Facial Aesthetics today. We serve patients in Denver, Colorado.